Israel Police Detain Siblings Overnight Despite Court Order for Their Release

Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge harshly criticizes police, says leaving them in detention is 'a blatant violation of human rights'

ARCHIVE - Police station in central Israel
David Bachar

A brother and sister in their 20s from Jerusalem were left in detention overnight this week despite the court ordering their release.

Judge Elazar Bialin of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court harshly criticized the police and said that leaving them in detention is “a blatant violation of human rights.”

The two were detained early last week on suspicion of breaking into a yeshiva in the city and stealing from it. They were caught on security cameras entering and leaving the place, but were not filmed taking anything with them, and there was no list of the items they were suspected of taking.

They were detained with a court order, and the brother was brought for an extension of his detention without being questioned at all. The police even asked to extend their detention by five days.

During the initial proceeding the court extended the brother’s detention by 24 hours, and the sister’s by 48 hours. The judge said that “the conduct of the police is very disturbing, both in bringing the respondent to court and his detention without a judge’s order.” The brother’s lawyer remarked: “The conduct here should disturb the court … the investigators hadn’t taken his version and already wanted to detain him. What problem was there to come to the court and get an arrest warrant? Why detain someone that way in the street?”

The judge ordered that the siblings be released at the end of their investigation, even if it was concluded before the date for extending their detention. Despite his order, the next day they were brought for another extension, and the police wanted to issue a restraining order to keep them away from the yeshiva. A police representative even admitted at the proceeding that it was decided to release them the night before, but they were brought for the purpose of requesting a restraining order. 

“On Sunday it was already decided to release them, so why bring them to the court? What is this, another night in a hotel?” wondered the brother’s court-appointed attorney. The sister’s attorney said that the behavior of the police was inexcusable.

Judge Bialin attacked the police’s conduct. “Since the decision to release the respondents was made yesterday by an officer of the investigative unit, that means that leaving them in detention for another night is a blatant violation of human rights,” he said. He stressed that “detention is the worst damage to individual liberty.”

Bialin rejected the police request to issue an order keeping the siblings away from the yeshiva for six months. “It’s even more regrettable that the respondents were brought today only in order to discuss the request for a restraining order, which in my opinion is not necessary in order to release them.” He ordered them released on condition of reporting as required for questioning and a bond of 5,000 shekels ($1,400).  

The police have yet to comment.